The 2022 Toyota GR86 is one of the last of a dying breed. The compact, inexpensive, rear-wheel-drive sports car is as rare these days as the latest hypercar. Everyone just wants to drive around in SUVs. However, a big company like Toyota is keeping a car like this alive for those that still want to have an enjoyable driving experience and not conform to the boring norm that is the SUV.
Engine – The last Toyota GT86 (Scion FRS / Subaru BRZ) felt underpowered and was one of the biggest criticisms of the car. This new GR86 addresses that by giving drivers a bigger and more powerful engine. It has a 2.4L flat-4 boxer engine that was developed with Subaru and this new engine produces a healthy 228 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque (170 kW & 249 Nm). Unlike the old engine, this new engine’s peak torque figure is in the middle of the rpm range instead of being next to the redline. In everyday traffic, you don’t need to rev the engine to 4,000+ rpms like the old one. You can drive the car like a civilized person. On highways if you need to overtake a slower moving vehicle, you can leave it in 6th gear and gently roll on the throttle. The engine will provide enough torque & power to actually speed up the car. And finally on tracks, the mid-rpm torque figure allows you to be in one gear higher than with the old engine and still drive quickly out of a corner. The 0-100 km/h time (62 mph) is down to the 5.5 second mark. This is the engine that the Toyota 86/FRS should have always had.
Fuel Economy – With the addition of more power and more displacement, fuel economy is not that bad. The 2022 Toyota GR86 is rated for 11.9 L/100km (19.8 MPG) in a city and 8.7 L/100km (27 MPG) on a highway with the 6-speed manual transmission. The 6-speed automatic transmission improves those numbers by 0.8 & 1.0 L/100km (1.4 & 3 MPG) respectively. During my time with the car, I averaged 9.3 L/100km (25.3 MPG) which included some enthusiastic driving. If you’re more gentle with the throttle, you can get better than advertised fuel economy.
Transmission – The 2022 Toyota GR86 is one of very few cars on sale today that are offered with a manual transmission. A 6-speed automatic is also available. The 6-speed manual is in general a good and easy to use transmission. The throws between shifts are short and it’s hard to unintentionally select the wrong gear. But the shifter feels just a tiny bit notchy in the first few gears. The shifter slides in more smoothly in the last few gears. Clutch actuation is smooth with a definitive bite point towards the lower-middle portion of pedal travel.
Braking – The Toyota GR86 does not get any sort of brand name brake calipers. It honestly doesn’t need them. Thanks to its relative light weight, it stops quickly. Brake pedal actuation is smooth and easy to control for everyday traffic or trackday fun.
Handling – The 2022 GR86 received a few upgrades over the outgoing model to make the car more responsive. These include a stiffer front sway bar, stiffer springs, and a faster steering rack. These changes give the GR86 a quick reacting front end. Wherever you point the steering wheel, the front end goes. As the car goes through a corner, it feels neutral. Of course if you go into a corner way too fast, the GR86 will induce safe but boring understeer. But if you’re gentle with the steering, braking, and throttle applications, the car has just enough grip. However, just like the old 86/FRS, this new one can easily get its back end out. If anything, it’s a little bit easier because it has more power & torque. The rear end comes standard with a Torsen limited slip differential.
Ride Comfort – This being a sports car, the ride is as firm as it needs to be. It’s not completely unbearable on city streets but you’ll definitely want to avoid the potholes and manhole covers. The seats take away some of the harshness of driving over a bad bump. They have enough padding and hold you very well around corners.
Interior Space – I am 6’4” and yet I have plenty of space in the front seats of the Toyota GR86. There’s plenty of space for my long legs and just enough headroom. Also, there is enough headroom while wearing a helmet during a track event. The steering column has tilt and telescopic adjustment but it would be nice if there was a tiny bit more. The rear seats are hopefully optimistic. Behind my driving position, it’s best to use that seat as a place to carry small items. On the passenger side, if there’s a shorter person in the front seat, then perhaps a shorter person may fit in the back seat. But they probably won’t be comfortable.
The trunk of the GR86 has 177 L (6.25 cu-ft) of cargo space. You can also fold down the seat backs in the GR86 for more cargo capacity.
Noise, Vibration & Harshness – The 2022 Toyota GR86 does not have a whole lot of sound insulating materials built into the cabin. You can hear the engine in any driving condition and some of the engine sounds are enhanced by the stereo system. Wind noise is minimal, however, road noise from the tires is particularly bad on highways. But then again, this is not meant to be a comfortable GT car.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – The 2022 Toyota GR86 starts at just $31,490 CAD ($27,700 USD) with the 6-speed manual transmission. This particular vehicle is the Premium GR86 which will set you back $34,490 CAD ($30,300 USD). The automatic version will cost an additional $2,400 CAD ($1,500 USD).
Gadgets – The GR86 can be equipped with an 8” touchscreen with wired Apple CarPlay & Android Auto integration, heated seats, Alcantara & leather upholstery, dual zone climate control, LED headlights, an 8-speaker audio system, and keyless entry with push button start. So it has everything a sports car driver would ever need or want.
Interior Design – The design is very simple and straightforward. The climate controls are physical buttons or rotary knobs. The infotainment system has quick access buttons and tuning knobs. The heated seats have their own dedicated buttons. Same goes for the traction and stability control buttons. It’s all very simple and there’s nothing too shiny to distract your eye from looking ahead and enjoying the drive.
Exterior Design – The GR86 has an evolved design language from the older GT86. It is instantly recognizable as a modern 86. It has smooth flowing lines from the front to the back where the design is accentuated by the duckbill spoiler.
Safety – If you opt for the GR86 with the manual transmission, the only safety features that you get are blind spot sensors and rear cross traffic alert. Opt for the GR86 with the automatic transmission and it’ll also include automatic emergency braking, lane keep, and adaptive cruise control. The GR86 received a Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS but this award only applied to those cars that are equipped with the automatic transmission and advanced safety aids.
Warranty – Like many other Toyota vehicles, the 2022 Toyota GR86 is covered by a 3 year / 60,000 km basic and 5 year / 100,000 km powertrain warranty. For more information on Canadian warranty, click here. For information on USA warranty, click here. (Scroll to bottom of page)
Conclusion – In the end, Toyota listened to their customers and gave the GR86 the updates that it sorely needed. The car is now better to drive in city traffic and around a race track. It also has good practicality for a sports car and it’s one of the last affordable fun cars that you can buy. What is there to not like about the 2022 Toyota GR86?
Thank you to Toyota Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Toyota.ca